Hertfordshire continues to have some of the highest Covid infection rates in the country as the Prime Minister plunged the nation into a third lockdown.

Boris Johnson has said he had "no choice" but to take this action, as new figures suggested one in 50 people in England had coronavirus last week.

The Prime Minister vowed to use "every second" under the stringent restrictions to put an "invisible shield" around the elderly and vulnerable through a mass vaccination programme.

Hertfordshire's director of public health, Jim McManus, tweeted on Monday night that the quicker people adhere to the new lockdown measures in place, the "quicker we can suppress the virus", and the "quicker we get out of it".

Suppressing the virus will also help ease the pressure on Watford General Hospital which is caring for a record number of patients.

But where are the worst affected areas in and around Watford?

Government figures show the districts of Watford and Three Rivers are nearing weekly Covid infection rates of 1,000 cases per 100,000 population - neighbouring Hertsmere surpassed this rate on Tuesday.

Rates are high across every single area of Watford, while Rickmansworth and South Oxhey continue to keep Three Rivers' rates extremely high.

While in Hertsmere, record-breaking Covid rates in the borough are being driven by substantial numbers in Borehamwood, Bushey, and Radlett.

Below is a list of the top 20 Covid hotspots in south west Hertfordshire as we begin the new national lockdown.

The table below shows a list of the latest available number of cases in every town and village in south west Hertfordshire. Places are shaded differently depending on the infection rate. The darker the colour, the higher the rate.

Hertfordshire County Council figures show over the Christmas period, people of all ages tested positive for Covid, including nearly 3,000 each those aged in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s.

Over the same time period (December 20-31) there were around 600 cases involving people aged over 80, and nearly 2,000 aged 60-79.

Just over 46,000 tests were carried out in Hertfordshire in the seven days to December 31. Of those, 22.1 per cent returned a positive result, according to the government's Covid dashboard.

The latest number of Covid patients we know that are being cared for at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust remains 285 (as of December 30). This is nearly double the spring peak.

Chief nurse Tracey Carter said on New Year's Eve: "Sadly we are seeing too many people coming into hospital with COVID-19, more now than in the Spring. Please don’t let you or your friends and family be one of them.

"Staff are already working flat out to look after patients and keep services running - but we can’t do this by ourselves. We need everyone in Hertfordshire to do their bit and do the right thing by staying at home wherever possible.

"If you do go out, wash your hands, keep your distance, cover your face, and spend as little time as possible out of your home."